August 23, 2019 / 1:18 PM / 4 months ago

Sri Lanka withdraws emergency law imposed after Easter attacks

FILE PHOTO: Soldiers stand guard outside St. Sebastian Church, days after a string of suicide bomb attacks across the island on Easter Sunday, in Negombo, Sri Lanka, May 1, 2019. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui/File Photo

COLOMBO (Reuters) - Sri Lanka on Friday withdrew an emergency law imposed after Easter Sunday attacks, a military spokesman said, signifying the return of calm to the island nation which is set to vote in a new head of state later this year.

President Maithripala Sirisena imposed emergency law in April after more than 250 people were killed and 500 wounded in Islamist militant bombings across churches and luxury hotels on Easter day.

The army will continue to assist police for internal security, military spokesman Sumith Atapattu told Reuters.

The emergency gave police and military extensive powers to detain and interrogate suspects without court orders.

Almost all militants suspected to have links with the attackers have either been arrested or killed, Sirisena has previously said.

The Indian Ocean island is set to vote for a new president in an election due before Dec. 9, with political parties already having kicked off campaigning.

Reporting by Shihar Aneez and Sankalp Phartiyal, Editing by William Maclean and Alison Williams

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